Ready for swimsuit season? My daughter is! She puts on her “swimming soup” as she calls it, and begs me to take her swimming. If you’re not as excited about summer, here are a few tips on how to slim down naturally.
I don’t believe in the typical diets out there to lose weight because they are often about counting calories, instead of eating the right foods. But, I do have some habits that I think help me maintain a healthy weight. In more recent years, my kids’ diets have been a great influence in that. If they didn’t have to eat so healthy, I probably wouldn’t either!
Gone are the days of running through fast food drive thru's whenever I want. Having to have my gallbladder removed has also been a contributing factor. All those days of eating pizza and doughnuts finally caught up to me.
In reading about health related issues, I’ve discovered that when you eat healthy, weight no longer becomes an issue. You will naturally shed pounds without even thinking about it or heaven forbid, counting calories. It blows my mind when I hear people still talking about counting calories. Really? If you are eating the right foods, calories do not matter. I’ve never seen anyone gain weight by eating too many vegetables. I’m not saying you need to eat only vegetables to lose weight but the focus needs to come off the amount of calories, and be placed on eating the right foods.
Kevin Trudeau has written a few books on health and one on losing weight specifically. In his book, “Natural Cures They Don’t Want You To Know About” he wrote a chapter on how to lose weight effortlessly. This is a great list and many of these things I already do or have read about in other books. I made my own list below.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, so please consult with your doctor before starting any weight loss or exercise plan. You know the drill. I’m just sharing what I personally do and what I have read about. These are in no particular order and what works for me or one person may not work for another. And when I talk about losing weight, I think it is almost always synonymous with improving your health. Being overweight is never healthy. Keep in mind, being thin isn’t the same as being healthy either. I have never been overweight but I certainly was not healthy for the first 30 years of my life.
1. Avoid eating out or reduce it drastically.
Restaurant food is no healthier than fast food in my opinion. The ingredients are basically the same – lots of additives, preservatives, MSG, and corn syrup. People eat out way too much. I was one of them. I worked full time then went to school at night for a few years so I had peanut M&M’s and orange juice from a vending machine for breakfast every day. Then I ate fast food for lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday. I never brought my lunch to work. I’m lucky that I’m now a stay-at-home mom because I understand how difficult it is to avoid fast food when you are constantly out and about. But, if you can reduce the amount of eating out you do, this alone will greatly improve your health and help you lose weight if you need to.
Be careful with “healthy” fast food or restaurant food as well. You might think the soup and sandwich shop is healthy but it’s usually not. It’s probably still loaded with MSG (which makes you fat), preservatives, corn syrup, and other additives that can have a great impact on your health and weight.
When I do eat out, I try to choose restaurants that are Feingold approved, which means they do not contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. My favorites for eating out are Five Guys (the buns aren’t approved but I’m GFCF so I don’t get the buns anyway), Chipotle (chicken and rice bowl), McDonald’s and Burger King’s burgers are approved but skip the fries, Wendy’s fries are approved as are their hamburgers, and sometimes we get Olive Garden and get the gluten free mostacciolli (not approved but it seems OK). On rare occasions we’ll get Papa John’s cheese pizza (no longer filling out forms for Feingold but seems OK). Most of these are not healthy or low fat, but I don’t eat out very often.
2. Avoid MSG.
Google the phrase “MSG makes you fat” and you’ll come up with several articles with this title. It’s true. MSG tricks the brain into thinking that whatever it is you are eating tastes better than it actually is. They add MSG to most fast food and restaurant food, and many processed foods in the grocery store as well. This is why just avoiding eating out in itself is going to help you stay slim. MSG is very addictive. It is an excitotoxin and a neurotoxin that creates a food craving response. Ever crave fast food or junk food? Could be the MSG, often listed as monosodium glutamate. It is often hidden under other ingredients such as natural flavors, broth, yeast extract, etc. Feingold lists out which foods contain MSG which is very helpful for those who wish to avoid it.
"Special Alert - How MSG Makes You Gain Weight"
3. Cut out soda and drink more water.
If this is really hard for you, do it in stages. First cut out caffeine, then cut out corn syrup. I was used to drinking Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke every day as my main drink all day. When I got pregnant with my first, I decided I should cut out caffeine so I switched to Orange Crush! Not much better. Now instead of caffeine, I was feeding my baby yellow dye! A better choice would have been Sprite or Sierra Mist Natural (Sierra Mist Natural also does not contain corn syrup).
If you have a Whole Foods near you, Whole Foods has a line of pop like root beer and lemon lime that are also free of caffeine and corn syrup. If you are drinking diet pop like Diet Coke, you can switch to regular pop like Coke first. I’ll explain below why to avoid diet drinks.
Next, switch from pop to juice. You’re likely addicted to sugar so I think it’s easier to wean off of soda then to go straight from pop to water. If a diet change is too hard, most of the time, people will just give up completely. I started drinking apple juice or lemonade instead of pop. We use Simply Lemonade or Simply Apple Juice, or homemade lemonade is even better. I avoid restaurant lemonade because it often contains corn syrup and yellow or red dye.
You also want to avoid sweetened drinks like sweet tea and specialty coffees. I’ve never been a coffee drinker but I can imagine many of those drinks are loaded with sugar and additives. Not to mention, they’re expensive! I got my niece Starbucks the other day and I told her I’ve never been to Starbucks. She almost died. I told her I didn’t want to even try it because I might like it, and it’s probably not anything healthy for me and that’s a $5 a day habit I don’t need.
Once you’ve moved to juice, start to reduce the amount of juice you are drinking and incorporating more water. Add a slice of lemon to it if you want. Get a new water bottle. I like Life Factory’s 16 ounce water bottles. If you do drink juice, limit it to one glass per day or even better, limit it to fresh squeezed juices only. My favorite is grapefruit, orange, strawberry, and sometimes I add some kale to it. You don’t even taste the kale very much. It just cuts down on the sweetness. Eventually, you want your main drinks every day to be mostly water, maybe some fresh juice, and maybe some herbal tea (not sweet tea).
4. Switch from regular table salt to sea salt.
We made this change a few years ago. Sea salt isn’t quite as salty so you might need to use more of it at first, like on your popcorn. Use the same amount as regular salt in recipes. Most table salt contains corn syrup (listed as dextrose). Some people cut out salt altogether but I know I wouldn’t be able to do that. I think I’m addicted to salt. Sea salt is much better for you than table salt and Kevin Trudeau claims in his book that making the switch to sea salt can help you lose weight. Sea salt acts as a natural digestive aid.
"Health Benefits of Sea Salt Vs. Table Salt"
5. Take digestive enzymes.
Many people need digestive enzymes because they are not eating enough vegetables and raw foods which contain enzymes to help us break down our food. When the food you eat is not getting digested properly, your body is not getting all the vitamins and nutrients from the food, causing you to become hungry again quicker. By taking digestive enzymes, your body will be better able to use all the nutrients from the foods you are eating. Many people report improved bathroom habits from taking enzymes. There are several different types of digestive enzymes depending on your needs.
We have symptoms of leaky gut in our house, so if any of us ever eat gluten and dairy, we take AFP Peptizyde by Houston Enzymes, or Trienza.
For an overall digestive enzyme, we take Digest or Digest Gold (this is just a stronger version of Digest).
No Fenol for the digestion of fruits and salycilates/phenols.
Zyme Prime for the digestion of carbs and fats.
LypoGold for fat digestion (meats, butter, oils etc.), or if you have gallstones or no gallbladder. On the bottle it says, if taken between meals, it helps with fat metabolism and weight loss. Bonus! Like liposuction in a bottle. I take one of these when I take cod liver oil.
Biogest for the digestion of protein, like meats. This is good if you have no gallbladder.
Allerase for the digestion of vegetables, or when taken without food, it helps with seasonal or pet allergies.
6. Reduce your sugar intake.
This helps reduce belly fat particularly. I read the book, “The Belly Fat Cure” by Jorge Cruise. I tried it for a few weeks, and it did help but it’s hard to do! You even have to cut back on fruits which contain natural sugars. The book says to keep sugar intake to 15 grams a day, which is what one apple contains. Being GFCF and limiting meat consumption, I find it hard to avoid fruit. You also need to watch carbs like breads, pasta, rice, and potatoes as well. Personally, I think this plan definitely works, but find it hard to implement. I just try to limit my sugar consumption, rather than be religious about it. If I want something sweet, I try to go for fruit or a “healthier” homemade chocolate treat. Zevia is a good sugar free alternative for regular pop.
So, I’m not a good example for this one, but just be mindful that reducing sugar can have a big impact on weight loss, and especially belly fat.
Here’s a healthy sweet recipe, though I’m sure the sugar content is high! Hey, it’s better than a piece of chocolate cake from Portillo’s. Darn, why did they have to build a Portillo’s right next to my house!
Chocolate Energy Bars
Get off your butt and walk. Anyone can do it. When I had my first baby, I used to take him to the mall in his stroller and walk around during the winter months. If it’s nice out, get outside and walk. Take your kids to the park and walk if it’s close enough. Most kids don’t object to going for a walk. Make it fun and tell them you’re going on a nature hunt and look for frogs or any other kind of nature that they can collect and put in a backpack.
Walking really isn’t all that strenuous – in my opinion anyway, but it’s good exercise. We used to like going for walks at night in the summer (provided you live in a safe neighborhood). Honestly, I was trying to wear out my two year old so he’d go to bed at night! It never worked but we kept trying anyway. (This was pre-Feingold). Or in the winter when it’s snowing is fun too.
If you’re by yourself (I don’t recommend this with kids), don’t look for the closest parking spot. Purposely park farther out, so you can get some more walking in. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
We have a rec center in our town that has an indoor track where you can walk for free. In the old days, people walked everywhere. Our bodies were made for walking. It also improves digestion.
People who own dogs supposedly live longer. Part of that reason could be because they walk their dogs every day. I’ve never owned a dog, but that’s one reason I’d like to have one – so I could take it for walks. And for people who have dogs, and don’t take them for walks – I have never understood that.
With any exercise, don’t focus on the quantity, but the consistency. Even if you only exercise for 10 minutes a day, do it every day. It’s the little things done over a long period of time that make the biggest difference. This is especially true with any kind of exercise.
Exercise also reduces stress. Working out for 30 minutes can have the same effect as taking an anti-depressant. Doctors should be prescribing exercise instead of pills. Reducing stress helps you stay slim. See #13 below.
8. Take your vitamins.
There are a lot of vitamins that can help you lose weight indirectly. Dr. Oz says vitamin C helps eliminate belly fat. Vitamin C helps eliminate stress. When we are stressed, some of us turn to food. Our bodies also start to store fat when we are stressed, especially around the belly.
"The Dr. Oz Belly Fat Cure - How Stress and Cortisol Affect Belly Size"
Other vitamins that help eliminate stress are the B vitamins, especially B-6, followed by B-12 and B-1. I take a B-complex plus vitamin which contains all of them. I also take a B-12 vitamin sometimes. B vitamins are better absorbed when taken with magnesium.
"How to Handle Stress By Taking B-Complex Vitamins"
Magnesium also helps calm the nerves. Magnesium is best taken with calcium to help eliminate loose stools from magnesium and calcium also helps calm the nerves.
"Magnesium: The Stress Reliever"
Vitamin D deficiency can cause depression (which can lead to overeating) so taking a vitamin D supplement is often helpful. Many of us today are deficient in vitamin D because we are not outside nearly as much as our ancestors hundreds of years ago were.
I was just tested for vitamin D (it’s a blood test) and I was low (about 28), so they want me to take 10,000 mg a day. I was doing about 4,000 mg a day on occasion before. I give my kids 2,000 mg a day (Carlson vitamin D drops).
"Your Depression May Be Due to Vitamin D Deficiency"
Cod liver oil is a great supplement so I take that too. As stated in the Dr. Oz article above, the omegas in cod liver oil also help reduce stress and anxiety.
Helpful link from past post:"10 Supplements for ADHD"
9. Take probiotics.
Taking probiotics will help reduce the yeast and bacteria in your gut, reducing gas and bloating, often leading to a flatter tummy. Most likely, 100% of overweight people have yeast overgrowth. Refer to my post below on how to tackle yeast. Taking a probiotic daily is the first thing you want to do. Start low and slowly increase. See link below for more details.
Past post: "The Yeast Beast and Our Yeast Protocol"
10. Drink water first thing in the morning.
Drink as much water as you can first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything else. Then don’t eat for at least 30 minutes. This helps clean out the liver and everything else, while there is no food in the way. Adding a slice of lemon is even better. Some people add a dash of cayenne pepper too but I can’t stomach that. It helps kick start your metabolism. Water flushes out toxins, allowing your liver to work more effectively. The liver is responsible for getting rid of excess fat.
"How Drinking Water Helps Weight Loss"
11. Don’t eat late at night.
I don’t personally follow this rule because sometimes I don’t get a chance to eat until the kids are in bed. But, I’ve heard it said not to eat past 7pm at least. If I went to bed earlier, I might be able to pull this off. See next point.
12. Go to bed by 11pm every night.
At around 11pm, your liver starts to do its daily cleaning routine. It cleans out all toxins from the day. This is why you don’t want to eat late at night either. You want your liver to focus on cleaning out the toxins, not on digesting food. If you are not asleep at this time, it makes it harder for the liver to do its work, and you will be more toxic, making it harder for you to lose weight. I also don’t follow this rule, but I’m trying!
13. Reduce stress.
Often when we are stressed, we eat more, or we turn to foods that are not as healthy like fast food or sweets. So, reducing stress is going to help you make better food choices.
Also when we are stressed, our bodies naturally tend to store more fat. It’s in survival mode. Hundreds of years ago, stress wasn’t “Am I going to have enough money to pay the bills?” or “I have a deadline to meet at work.” It was, “Where are we going to find our next meal?” So, our bodies were made to store fat when we are under stress, as a means of survival.
Avoid toxic people whenever you can and try to focus on the positives in life instead of the negative. Zig Ziglar has written a few good books on this subject. When you find yourself in a particularly difficult situation, consciously make a list of everything you are thankful for in that circumstance. Think of things that are worse than your situation and be thankful for not being in those circumstances.
14. Avoid corn syrup.
I’ve heard it said many times that the reason our kids are so overweight today, is partly because of corn syrup, particularly in the pop that kids are drinking to excess of today. I don’t remember when I was growing up seeing so many kids with bellies, like we see in so many kids today. Corn syrup started to replace sugar around the 1970’s. Today, it is in almost everything unless you are cooking from scratch or reading your labels very carefully. Feingold lists out which foods contain corn syrup. Corn syrup can be listed as dextrose, maltodextrin, fructose, and more. We avoid it completely because it also causes many behavioral issues like anger, weepiness, hyperactivity, and aggression.
Read the article below about high fructose corn syrup. HFCS in pop is probably one of the reasons if you replace pop with water in your diet, you will likely see weight loss. However, don't be fooled into replacing your regular pop with a diet soda. See #16 below, and please watch the video if you are a diet pop drinker!
"A Sweet Problem: Princeton Researchers Find High Fructose Corn Syrup Prompts Considerable More Weight Gain"
15. Eat salad, apples and grapefruit daily.
Eating apples and grapefruit regularly can help you lose weight. It will also keep you healthy and your immune system strong. Eating a salad, apple, or a grapefruit before meals helps fill you up so you eat less and they are good sources of fiber and nutrients.
16. Avoid diet drinks.
So many people think they are cutting calories (and avoiding weight gain) by drinking diet pop or diet drinks, when they are actually making it harder for their bodies to lose weight. Diet drinks contain very harmful additives such as aspartame which slows down metabolism and is extremely toxic. Watch the movie, “Sweet Misery.” You’ll never look at your Diet Coke the same.
"Sweet Misery" on You Tube
17. Reduce your portion sizes.
Instead of starving yourself and causing yourself stress by not being able to eat the foods you love, try reducing your portion sizes. Instead of eating a whole piece of cake, take two bites. Instead of eating six pieces of pizza, eat two and have something healthier along with it.
18. Eat only organic meat and dairy.
50 years ago the average baby weighed 5 or 6 pounds. Today, we see 8 and 9 pound babies. My midwife told me she thought babies were so big because the mothers were drinking milk and eating meat and dairy made from cows that were given HGH (human growth hormone). This will pass through breastmilk as well. After watching the documentary, “King Corn”, we now only eat grass fed beef.
"King Corn" on You Tube
19. Consider going gluten and dairy free.
I’m an O blood type. O blood types supposedly do better avoiding gluten and dairy, and eating more meat. When O’s eliminate gluten and dairy, they tend to shed weight quickly and easily. A’s do better with grains and plants, with minimal animal meat. B’s can do either. The Blood Type Diet (based on the book, “Eat Right 4 Your Type” by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo) explains which foods are best for each blood type and which foods help you gain or lose weight the fastest. I found when I went GFCF, I lost weight immediately without even trying.
20. Avoid chemicals in your food.
We do the Feingold Diet so we avoid artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. We also avoid nitrates, corn syrup, and benzoates. All of these things are toxins, not food.
The body doesn’t recognize them as food so the liver has to deal with them like they are invaders, instead of eliminating real toxins like bacteria, yeast, viruses, pre-cancerous cells, etc. The liver is the body’s main source for fat elimination. The book, “The Liver Cleansing Diet” by Dr. Sandra Cabot does a great job explaining how if we take care of our liver, we will lose weight.
21. Educate yourself every day.
Sign up for some e-newsletters like www.mercola.com. Sign up for some Facebook pages geared toward healthy eating. You need to be constantly reminding and educating yourself on why you should be eating healthier. It’s very easy to forget. Watch documentaries on health. Hungry for Change, Forks Over Knives, and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead to name a few.
22. Think thin.
If you think that you are thin, you are more likely to act like it. When you are eating, you will tend to eat less. If you are thinking, “I’m already fat. It won’t make a difference if I eat more of this.”, then you will probably eat more.
Place pictures around your house (on your bathroom mirror, by your computer, on your fridge, in your pantry, etc.) of someone you want to look like. When we have an actual image in our mind, we are more likely to attain those goals. The subconscious has an amazing ability to turn what we think about into reality. Maybe it’s a picture from a woman’s workout magazine or an old picture of yourself when you were thinner. This will help remind you where you want to be and what your goal is.
23. Avoid alcohol
This should be a no-brainer but many people neglect to cut out alcohol when they are trying to lose weight.
So, those are the main ones that stick out to me. Many of these are just common sense. Doing number 1 (avoiding eating out) is probably the biggest one. If you only do that, and cook your meals instead of eating out, I think it would drastically affect your weight and overall health. From there, moving from processed to whole, real foods would be the next step.
I think the next greatest impact on your weight would be moving toward drinking only water instead of sweetened or caffeinated drinks.
Can anyone think of anything else? Please share!